Teacher Yuzuhira

This is a post by 瑠威 明 Francesco Matsuo. Lui is Japanese, FtM, was born in Japan and raised all over the world.  He was raised in a very conservative Buddhist family in a Shinto environment. Early in his life, he had an urge to become a Capuchin Franciscan or a Franciscan monk. However, due to his gender identity, he is still looking for any order that will accept him as who he is. Lui writes poetic reflections for the Young Adult Catholic Blog where he uses inspiration from nature to gain spiritual insights.

P2283-4Teacher Yuzuriha

You have been my role model

My dear plant siblings

You have been my teacher of humility

Through your life

You have been teaching us

To let go

To be not so grabby

What comes in the future is for new voices to explore

Every year at beginning of spring

The grown leaves fall on ground

Making sure the new leaves

Receive the sun light

Have the space to grow their leaves

So they can explore the life

It is easy to take the rainy season for the young

Easy to take the typhoon wind

Than to see the young welcomed into the adventure called life

It is easy to put a bubble around them

Than see them get scrapes

But you with wisdom of your heart

Knew that it shouldn’t be so

It is an arrogance

It is egoistical oppression

To rob the adventurous life challenges

That help them grow beyond you

Amazing wisdom!

For the tough part of parenting is

So someday the young will live independently

To build them up to tackle challenges life throws

It is what it means to live fully!

So every spring

Grown leaves let go of the attachment

Making sure new voices are being heard

On the ground, gently, softly supporting the root

Yuzuriha, my teacher,

No wonder you have been a chosen symbol of parenting for the future

For you have been teaching parents

To let go

To let their young live their adventures

The life awaiting for them to be explored


Be in my mind always

Make sure I will let go of the loved one

When my time comes

Make me mindful

To work as gentle nutrients

Not the guiding pole for vines to follow

For it is such waste not to see

Life puzzles for each to solve


Daphniphyllum macropodum is a plant native to Japan and a few other eastern Asian countries. In Japanese we call them yuzuriha (譲り葉: literally meaning Yielding leaves). The name came from how the plant lives.

Every year, around spring times, the grown leaves from the past year shed to the ground, as if to yield the sun light for the young new baby leaves.

Japanese saw how these plants lives, and the plants have often become the symbol of longevity of the family clan. (Not the longevity of the individual, but of the family). One generation yielding to make sure the young ones to explore life, carrying on the family name. Not suffocating the young with traditions.

It is the toughest lesson for anyone to learn, I suppose.  Be it a community organizer who has been into birthing community or raising community. It is tough to let go, it is tough to see that things are handled differently than one is accustomed to, it might be tough to see new ones appearing to have struggles… it is so easy to say “we have traditionally done this this way or that way”, it is so easy to dismiss the struggle of next generation by saying, “when we were in this…” but those words are an automatic shutoff switch for new leaves to explore, to tackle our challenges, because it is easy to be obedient to the voices that are loud, rather than to be like a stethoscope, trying to listen to the shyest heart beat.

I want to be able to let go. I want to be humble enough to trust the new leaves, as they tackle life to grow. I want to be able to be a listener, and not the microphone. I want to be able to yield, so that newer generations can discuss and tackle the struggle that life throws, as it is their gift of adventures and puzzles to play and explore. It is not for me to open the wrapping paper, ruining the surprise.

Of course I will be here in support, a gentle support, when needed, when asked.  But first I’d love to recognize and I’d love to respect the wisdom within the new leaves.

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